As we approach the opening of our new building and branch on White Street, it is important to note this is not the same White Street as in years past. When the original branch was built in 1967, the area was very much an industrial site. The credit union was surrounded by parking lots for people working shift jobs at the Bleachery. One of my first initiatives as the new manager of the credit union was to put in a drive-through window.
A lot has changed through the years and more is coming.
Like our Fort Mill branch, our new White Street branch will feature a more open design where a service representative will greet you at the door and guide you to the area where you can be best served – kiosk for electronic banking, teller pod or private office. We think it creates a warm, member-friendly environment.
The location also will have a drive-up, deposit-enabled ATM in the lot facing White Street.
What the site won’t feature is a drive-through window, and there are several reasons why. One is that Family Trust and all financial service providers are seeing a significant decline in “in-branch” transactions due to the growing number of online and mobile transactions. The other reason is the transformation taking place downtown and in Knowledge Park. Already, this district is more focused on pedestrian traffic and less on car traffic. We foresee more foot and bicycle traffic, and the possibility of a street car. As more people live, work, shop, dine, and go to school in downtown and Knowledge Park, it will be more convenient for them to walk, bike, or take the streetcar. We see this already happening in Greenville and Durham.
Some wonder about the projected growth and I can assure you that the creation of jobs in the area is no longer a dream. I am aware of businesses that have moved to downtown and several have plans to do so. If you’ve been downtown recently, it is alive with people visiting Fountain Park, the Farmers Market, the Children’s Museum, an outside concert, or one of many restaurants. The next year will bring announcements of significant new jobs in Knowledge Park.
Today there is a waiting list of people who want to live downtown, and three projects to construct apartments or condominiums have been announced. One at the old Woolworth building on Main is under construction. Plans for the Bleachery site include retail, restaurants, and housing, including student housing to support Winthrop’s growing enrollment.
This is a very exciting time for Family Trust and an equally exciting time for Rock Hill and the Knowledge Park. We look forward to sharing the future with you, our members.